11 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi With Kids
If you’re looking at new destinations to visit with your family, look into the Middle East and explore Abu Dhabi with kids.
While Abu Dhabi is better known as a modern metropolis, parents should not write it off as a holiday destination for the whole family. Apart from the lavish luxury—from opulent hotels, high-end shopping malls, and luxurious beach clubs—Abu Dhabi offers beyond the usual tourist attractions that you can find elsewhere in the world.
We went to Abu Dhabi at the beginning of summer and explored what the United Arab Emirate’s capital has to offer. Here’s what we think you can do to treat the young ones to fun-filled holiday in Abu Dhabi.
Discover Abu Dhabi’s thriving arts and culture scene
When visiting Abu Dhabi with kids, you’d definitely want to check out the arts and culture scene the city has to offer. After all, immersing the kids in different cultures help develop their cognitive skills.
The good thing is there are plenty of ways to do this in Abu Dhabi.
Visit Louvre Abu Dhabi and immerse yourself and the kids into different arts and cultures housed in 12 galleries. You can explore the museum at your own pace, or join a guided tour focused on architecture or museum masterpieces. There is also the family-centric tour called ‘my first visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi.” This tour introduces the kids to key artworks and architectural elements while also giving an overview of different museum-related professions.
Louvre Abu Dhabi also has the Children’s Museum, which hosts interactive workshops and family-friendly exhibitions. Though conceived for children aged six to 12, the Children’s Museum is open for kids and adults of all ages.
Just nearby Louvre Abu Dhabi is the Manaraat Al Sadiyaat. Home to Abu Dhabi’s creative types, this cultural centre offers a number of kid-friendly activities, workshops and screenings.
There, check out the Art Studio. It is a multi-disciplinary art space designed to bring hands-on arts education programmes, art classes, drop-in sessions, and workshops for all ages.
Pro-tip: If you decide to join a drop-in session, don’t forget to bring the experience home with you! Art Studio also hosts an arts supply store, making it easier for the little ones to continue their practice at home.
Experience a whole new level of superlatives at the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque
Being one of the richest cities on earth, it is no surprise that Abu Dhabi is known for its biggest, brashest and flashiest landmarks.
And you know what they say, you have not been to Abu Dhabi if you have not visited the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque—one of the world’s biggest and most expensive mosques.
Also the biggest marble mosaic in the world—being paved with floral marble from 28 different countries—the grand mosque is one of Abu Dhabi’s not-to-be-missed attractions. It is one of the few mosques in the UAE that is open to non-Muslims. Guided tours run on the daily but you and your family can explore it on your own.
What’s more, despite its upscale architecture, visitors can enter the grand mosque for free.
Get a glimpse of Abu Dhabi’s pre-oil era at the Heritage Village
The UAE Heritage Village is a museum in Abu Dhabi’s marina breakwater. The walled complex showcases all the main elements of traditional Gulf life: a fort, a souq and a mosque.
There you’ll see traditional palm-leaf houses called barasti and wind towers.
This free-to-enter village offers a glimpse into Abu Dhabi’s past and features public workshops and demonstrations of traditional skills such as metal work, pottery, weaving and spinning. You can even shop and bargain with souvenir sellers and craftsmen who are selling their works there.
Say Yes to Yas Island
If there’s an island you should never miss in your visit to Abu Dhabi with kids, it’s definitely Yas Island.
Dubbed as the UAE’s entertainment destination, Yas Island is home to Abu Dhabi’s most popular attractions, including Warner Bros. World and Ferrari World.
There is no such thing as the summer heat in the climate-controlled theme park, Warner Bros. World. The indoor theme park has 29 rides spread across six immersive lands. These include Warner Bros Plaza, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City and Dynamite Gulch.
The kids can ride a “spacecraft” with The Jetsons Cosmic Orbiter—a high-energy spin ride at the Dynamite Gulch. Meanwhile, the older kids can test their superhero abilities at the Teen Titans Training Academy. There, their superhero skills are put to the test as they take on zip coasters, rope bridges and more at the multi-level play area.
Seeking more thrill? Visit Ferrari World. Also on Yas Island, this mostly indoor amusement park features attractions and rides for visitors of all ages.
For the kids, we recommend checking out Khalil’s Car Wash. It is an interactive play area wherein the little champions can climb, try RC racing, and drive pedal cars. It’s never too early to train your future Ferrari racer!
Pro-tip: Plan your visit ahead and aim attractions your kids can ride by visiting the Warner Bros. World and Ferrari World websites. These allow you to filter rides based on your kids’ heights! Ticket prices start at SGD 110 for Warner Bros. World, and Ferrari World.
Head to the ‘Garden City’ of Al Ain, just 1 1/2 hr drive from Abu Dhabi city
Al Ain, one of the largest cities in the Emirates, is just 1 1/2 hr drive from the city of Abu Dhabi.
Probably one of the most unique tourist destinations in the region, you’ll find there the Al Ain Oasis, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and Jebel Hafeet mountain.
While it may not be considered medical tourism, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is popular to foreign visitors and is the largest falcon hospital in the world. Here, you get a glimpse of how the Falcons are given expert medical care. Tours at the hospital include a peek into the examination rooms, and a visit to the moulting room where the birds shed feathers, stretch their wings and fly around.
But Falcons aren’t the only animals you and your kids can get up close with when in Al Ain. Head to Al Ain’s famous camel market to experience a one-of-a-kind immersion in traditional Arab culture. There you’ll see young Arabian camels that might grow up to be racers to impressive adult camels ideal for breeding.
Another great way to bring the kids out in nature is through a visit to the historic Al Ain Oasis. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sprawls across 3,000 acres, houses up to 100 different varieties of vegetation that surround the oasis, with widespread plantations that are also working farms. Kids can also get to learn about the delicate oasis ecosystem and traditional farming methods through a series of immersive interactive exhibits available there.
And finally, head for the Jebel Hafeet mountain to cap your day with a fantastic view of the Arabian sunset. The drive up on this 1,240-m mountain is considered “among the world’s greatest driving roads.”
Explore vast choices of accommodations
If you want the ultimate desert experience, stay in one of the desert accommodations like Telal Resort.
Located at just the outskirts of Al Ain City, in the midsts of a natural oasis, the 5-star resort offers holistic accommodation for couples and families. The resort also hosts local activities, such as horse/camel riding, falconry, Arabic coffee brewing, date juicing and henna drawing. If you’re lucky, you might see gazelles out your villa’s veranda. Abu Dhabi is after all means ‘Land of the Gazelle’ in Arabic.
Another resort to consider is the Eastern Mangroves Hote & Spa by Anantara This hotel offers the pulsing Abu Dhabi city vibe on one side, and an expanse of mangroves and tranquillity on the other. The hotel faces the Mangrove National Park, where visitors go kayaking through the mangroves.
On a couple’s trip with your spouse? Stay at Editions Abu Dhabi. The hotel, located in the downtown district on the waterfront of Al Bateen Marina. It offers the views of the Arabian Gulf ensuring a romantic vibe.
Fly to Abu Dhabi with kids with ease
There are multiple airlines that fly from Singapore to Abu Dhabi.
The UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways, in particular, has a flight to and from Abu Dhabi from Changi Airport every day of the week. Apart from flying directly from Singapore to Abu Dhabi, the airline also offers kid-friendly amenities and services in-flight.
Apart from providing assistance with the kids throughout the flight, the Flying Nanny also provides fun activities for your children. They give out a goody bag of games, arts and crafts to keep the little ones busy.
And while they are able to help with the kids, do note that they can’t carry your child or take them to the bathroom.
The airline also allows pre-booking of infant’s and kids’ meal. Bassinets are also available for pre-booking for families travelling with infants.
Pro-tip: Etihad Airways has a supply, though in limited quantities, of baby food onboard. We recommend that you carry food and milk for your baby. These can we warmed up onboard—just ask the cabin crew for assistance.
You will not run out of things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids. But if there’s one final note we can advise before going to there—or to any holiday at all, make sure to plan ahead, but most of all remember that holidays are meant to be a quality time the family!
We hope that with these tips, you can travel easy to and in Abu Dhabi.
*Our trip to Abu Dhabi was arranged by Etihad Airways.